Education Director's Report: Expanding and Improving our Internship Program

 Interns and Veggielution staff hang out at one of our regularly scheduled intern mixers. In addition to valuable professional skills, interns leave with lasting friendships and community connections.

Interns and Veggielution staff hang out at one of our regularly scheduled intern mixers. In addition to valuable professional skills, interns leave with lasting friendships and community connections.

Our internship program has been instrumental in helping Veggielution extend our capacity, as well as giving individuals the opportunity to build leadership skills and a venue for exploring interests and passions. In the past year, we have not only expanded the number of people we have reached through our internship program, but we have also greatly improved the internship experience and training that participants gain.

I did not anticipate learning about outreach, marketing, and financing of a non-profit. I also had not thought of non-violent communication applying to my internship. I absolutely enjoyed all the intern trainings and think they were important to the success of my experience.
— Summer Education Intern

Veggielution interns join either our Education, Outreach, Administration, or Farm Team to work on important tasks such as helping with our website, developing activities, conducting outreach, or growing crops out on the farm. To expand the educational component of the internship, we decided to host a 6-week-long dialogue-based training over the summer, as well as a series of Sustainable Gardening and Farming 101 workshops. The feedback on these trainings and workshops was overwhelmingly positive.

These interdisciplinary trainings connected our 27 interns across teams. They learned with and from each other, while also boosting their transferable skills. The dialogue-based training topics included public and environmental health, history of agriculture, non-violent communication, as well as financing and marketing of a non-profit. Our Sustainable Farming and Gardening 101 workshops covered topics such as seeding basics, plant families, composting and vermicomposting.

At the close of any internship term, it is always bittersweet to say goodbye to the exiting cohort. On one hand, it is great to know that the skills they have gained here at the farm will be utilized in so many ways in our community, and throughout the world. Yet, at the same time, we hate to see so many fantastic people go after 3 months. As we are now transitioning to the autumn season, a new cohort of interns are gearing up to join our teams.

This term, we have decided to extend our internship from one season to nine months. This will provide Veggielution with more continuity and deepen each intern's experience. We are very excited at the prospect of training and working with dedicated interns who will be able to utilize their training and leaderships skills developed here at Veggielution to have an even bigger impact in the community.